Personal Health Records in Southeast Asia Part 1 – a Way to Computerize Healthcare?
Computerization of healthcare systems and health records in southeast (SE) Asia is progressing very slowly, and there are no indications that it will accelerate in the near future. To alleviate the problems we turn to Personal (or Personally Controlled) Health Records (PHRs or PCHRs). Some places in SE Asia already have approximate PHRs in the form of paper booklets. In the past decade Web-based PHR systems have grown, and they are significantly cheaper and faster to install than entire Hospital Information Systems (HISs).
One problem with Web-based PHRs is that many regions in SE Asia have little or no Internet access. However, countries in SE Asia do have many cellphone users and basic cellphone services. Therefore, we propose a PHR system consisting of individual cellphone records (mobile PHRs) synchronized with Web-based PHRs to provide digital health records with or without Internet access. Such a system would be relatively easy to install and would solve many of the current problems of computerization.
The individual components and relationships of such a configuration will be addressed in more detail in subsequent papers: 2 - A Digital Portable Health Record; 3 - Communications with the CCR Standard (about linking to “legacy” systems); 4 – Incorporating Biosensor Data (for self-monitoring); 5 – Incorporating Contextual Information (to allow discovery of external factors in health). A mobile health record for ownership and use by “normal people” instead of just by healthcare providers has been largely ignored in development up to now.
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